Alyssa Silva's Summer Goal Is to Gain Weight, Not Lose It

Alyssa Silva's Cover

Alyssa Silva’s goal is to gain weight this summer. “There are definitely some improvements that I could make as far as weight gain goes,” Silva said. “However, with that being said, I don’t obsess over how I look to others.”

In some ways, Silva, who lives with spinal muscular atrophy, feels pressure to have a certain body type. “I’m sure this isn’t the case, but I can’t shake the feeling that people judge how skinny I am,” she said. “The summer months don’t help with these thoughts as I am showing more skin to avoid overheating.”

To manage her condition, Silva wears a body brace and ankle braces – often choosing to dress in a way that keeps her braces hidden. “It’s a personal choice I made a long time ago,” the 25-year-old said. “Most days in the summer I will wear a loose maxi dress to hide what’s underneath, not because I feel like society says I should based upon body image ideals, but because I don’t want to draw more attention to myself.”

Silva, from Rhode Island, tries her best to think positively about her body. “Throughout the summer there’s always a small part of me that feels self-conscious,” she said. “I understand that, because of my condition, I will always be skinny and will always have muscle contractures, but it still doesn’t change how I feel.” While Silva has yet to overcome these feelings, she has learned to live with them. “At the end of the day, my body type doesn’t determine the kind of person I am.”​

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